This is a guest post by Donika Haddock.
In its sixth season, Christmas Town is open and in full swing, and as beautiful as always. There’s something magical about walking through one of your favorite theme parks at night, decorated from top to bottom, literally, in Christmas lights.
The sights, the sounds, the smells of the pine trees lining the pathways, always seem to bring life some peace to your day, even if it’s only for a few hours.
One of my favorite things about Christmas Town is the food. I’m such a food person. While everyone will agree that the majority of foods served at amusement and theme parks is overpriced and subpar at best, I find the food at Busch Gardens to be top notch for a theme park. While we’re used to the smoked chicken and brisket at Trapper’s Smokehouse, and sausage sampler platters at Das Fest Haus, the park ups their offerings a step above during Christmas Town and changes their menus almost completely. While I haven’t tried everything (yet), I have compiled a small list of what each eatery serves, and what my favorites are.
When you enter the park, the first eatery you see, is Dicken’s Tavern. Also known as Squire’s Grill during the regular season. While I have yet to eat here (seriously, in all the years I’ve been going to the park, I have YET to eat here), a simple peek at their menu leads me to disappointment. Why? Because it’s themed after Charles Dickens. The sign clearly states ‘Serving Traditional Christmas Fare’, but yet….they don’t? Unless you consider burgers, cheeseburgers, and Philly cheesesteaks as traditional Christmas Fare. I say pass on Dickens Tavern and move on to something better, and maybe more ‘traditional’.
If you head to the right, you’ll come to the first hamlet in the park, Ireland. Grogan’s Grill is their only eatery, and a small one, but tends to be pretty good when you want a quick meal. Their current offerings include a variety of soups and stews. While I haven’t eaten here recently, I can say in the past, Annie Grogan’s stew is one of my favorites, made like a traditional stew with lots of meat, potatoes, and veggies.
Passing through Ireland you’ll come upon Trapper’s Smokehouse. On my last visit, I forgot to get a picture of their current menu, but I’m going to go off of past years and say they are still my favorite eatery at the park. I love their smoked chicken during their summer season, but during Christmas Town, they also serve traditional turkey dinner with veggies and cornbread stuffing. Not going to lie, I’m obsessed with their cornbread stuffing. Seriously, it’s delicious!!
If you prefer to eat in Das Fest Haus, located in Oktoberfest, this is the parks only indoor restaurant. It’s also the largest eatery, and gets very loud and crowded quickly. I avoid eating here when I can, simply because the crowds are ridiculous, and it’s difficult to have a conversation with your group while you eat. The food though, is still good. They still offer pizza and sandwiches while also offering traditional Christmas dinners, and their sausage sampler platter, which is enough food to feed two people.
Also situated inside Das Fest Haus is the ‘Tastes of Christmas Town’ dinner buffet. I have not done this yet, and honestly don’t know anyone that has, so I can’t rate the experience or the food. I will say though, the dinner is $30 per person. PER PERSON!!! Much more than what I want to spend on a meal at a theme park. It better be worth it though. Some of the items on the menu include a carving station, pastas, baked potato bar, soups, salad, rolls, drinks, and desserts.
Just behind Das Fest Haus, located in the Black Forest picnic area is another buffet, the Black Forest Buffet. For $15.99 (much better pricing)
And includes traditional foods like turkey and ham, and veggies, as well as chili and French onion soup, and mac and cheese. I finally tried this buffest this year and let me tell you, it’s pretty darn good for a buffet. It’s tucked away behind Das Fest Haus, and is a bit of a walk, but I sort of enjoyed being away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds walking around. I recommend this buffet.